The Humiliation of Harry: Prince 'heartbroken' after Queen's 'ER' initials stripped from his military uniform
The Duke of Sussex, 38, is reportedly "devastated" after Prince Andrew was allowed to keep the royal cipher, and is said to have considered wearing a morning suit to avoid the embarrassment as the monarch's eight grandchildren carried out a solemn guard of honor for her inside Westminster Hall on Saturday, September 17. William and Harry stood at either end of their beloved grandmother's coffin and were joined by cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Princesses Beatrice, and Eugenie, and Lady Louise Windsor and her brother Viscount Severn.
Harry, who has served two tours in Afghanistan, had been prevented from wearing a military uniform earlier this week as well, considering he was no longer a working royal. However, King Charles granted him permission to wear the livery for the somber vigil inside the Palace of Westminster. The Sunday Times reported that the Duke was understood to have been devastated to find his grandmother's initials stripped from the shoulder of his uniform. Meanwhile, the cipher was retained on Prince William's uniform.
Harry's disappointment reportedly stems from the fact that Andrew, who is also no longer a working royal, retained the initials on his vice-admiral's uniform as the Queen's children held a vigil on Friday, September 16. It's worth noting that the Duke had previously worn the cipher as he was a Personal Aide de Camp of the Queen. However, he had to give up the title after he stepped back from royal duties and moved to California with his wife, Meghan Markle.
The 'ER' cipher is traditionally only worn by those "in service" of the monarch, and therefore the absence of the initials could simply be chalked up to dress regulations as opposed to a blatant snub. However, Harry is understood to have been deeply hurt by the decision and as mentioned, considered wearing a morning suit in order to avoid being embarrassed. "He is heartbroken. To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional," a friend of the prince told the Times on condition of anonymity.
This comes amid hopes of reconciliation between the estranged brothers following the Queen's demise. It was a poignant moment as the princes walked side by side behind her coffin as it was moved to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday, September 14. The scene was reminiscent of the siblings walking behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana at her funeral in 1997. That said, William and Harry also put on an unexpected united front with their respective wives during a walkabout outside Windsor Castle on Saturday, when they greeted civilians paying their respects to the late monarch.
Sources close to the brothers, however, have said there has been "no meaningful rapprochement" as yet. A source close to Harry recently said that being back in his brother's company had been "uncomfortable" and "difficult" at times this week. Furthermore, reconciliation may be farfetched at this point with Harry's upcoming memoir and the Sussexes Netflix documentary that is in the works, the Daily Mail reported.